Support Us

The Harvard Square Homeless Shelter relies on the generosity of individual donors, alumni, and other friends of HSHS who understand the value of our programming and services.

To donate to the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, navigate to the donation page of our parent organization the Phillips Brooks House Association and select “Harvard Square Homeless Shelter” as the designation for your donation.


PBHA’s Homeless Shelter Emergency Fund for COVID-19

The outbreak of COVID-19 in Massachusetts has posed unprecedented challenges to the operating models of the two PBHA homeless shelters, HSHS and Y2Y Harvard Square. Both shelters incurred considerable costs in their efforts to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on our guests and staff.
We’ve been amazed by the remarkable compassion demonstrated by PBHA’s community of alumni, friends, and supporters in the last week and thank you so much for your support. As always, our shelters are able to operate because of the support of our communities, and we remain committed to providing people with safe and dignified places to stay. If you can, please consider donating by clicking here and choosing the designation: “Homeless Shelter Emergency Fund.”

Donate Goods

Due to our limited storage capacity, we are unable to accept all types of donations continuously throughout our season. With the exception of blankets, winter gear and food items (please see food donation guidelines at the bottom of the page) all donations must be coordinated by e-mailing [email protected] in advance. Other donations brought to the door will not be accepted. Please email multiple days in advance of when you want to make your donation.

Interested in receiving monthly emails about HSHS’s current donation needs, and what you can contribute? Join our HSHS-donations emailing list here!

The best time to drop off donations is between 7:00 PM and 10:30 PM any night of the week. We are located in the basement of University Lutheran Church in Harvard Square at 66 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Our entrance is located at the bottom of the stairs and ramp near the corner of Winthrop and Dunster Streets. If you ring the doorbell located to the right of the entrance, a staff member will come to the door to accept your donation.

Note: Please do not leave items outside the door to the shelter. We can only take donations during our shelter season, which runs from November 1st to April 15th.

Items Needed at Harvard Square Homeless Shelter

(items marked * signify high priority items at this time)

  • Blankets*
  • Hats,* gloves,* and scarves
  • Umbrellas

HSHS is only able to accept new and gently used clothing in adult sizes large and up.

  • Men’s and women’s socks (unused/unopened)
  • Men’s and women’s underwear (unused/unopened)
  • Other clothing, including outerwear and shoes, are accepted if gently used

HSHS is only able to accept unopened and unused toiletries.

  • Deodorant*
  • Bars of soap*
  • Body wash
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Lotion
    • Body lotion
    • Facial moisturizer
    • With aloe (for burns/scrape)
  • Shaving razors*
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • During the shelter season, fresh fruit and vegetables are greatly appreciated!*
  • Non-perishable food donations are accepted (e.g., canned soup*, chili, tomatoes, vegetables)
  • Perishable food donations from industrial kitchens are accepted, as long as it has remained covered and unexposed to contact.

Other items to contribute can be found on our Amazon Wish List.